SANFL’s ZAC MILBANK breaks down all you need to know about the Bulldogs heading into the 2024 Hostplus SANFL League season.
Finished – 4th (Lost 1st Semi Final)
Record – 9 wins, 9 losses (Minor Round)
1 win, 1 loss (Finals)
Norm Russell Medal – Club Champion
Best Club Person
League Incentive Award
League Development Award – Les Stevens Memorial Trophy
Daniel Hulm Memorial Trophy – Most Courageous Player
The Advertiser SANFL Team of the Year – Harry Grant (Rover), Jez McLennan (Back Pocket)
Kai Pudney (Woodville-West Torrens), Kade Dittmar (East Perth), Jake Gasper (Port Melbourne), Wilson Barry (Brisbane Lions VFL/Morningside), Maximus Monaghan (Belconnen/GWS VFL), Jack Callinan (Tassie Devils/Clarence), Dayne Posthuma (Queanbeyan/GWS Academy), Harvey Howe (Gippsland Power/Traralgon)
Justin Hoskin (retired/Willaston), Luke Habel (retired/Salisbury North coach), Dylan Weaver (Gumeracha), Shay Linke (Roxby Downs/employment), Chris Olsson (Tea Tree Gully), Fletcher Carroll (Albury), Will McCabe (Hawthorn), Liam Fawcett (Richmond), Austin McDonald (Adelaide SANFL), Rhys Cannizzaro (Nuriootpa), Blake Launer (Eudunda/Robertstown), Jack Carpenter (Barossa District)
Friday March 8
West Adelaide v Central District at Hisense Stadium from 7.15pm
Saturday March 16
Central District v Woodville-West Torrens at X Convenience Oval from 2pm
It’s not often a premiership player departs for a rival SANFL club.
But Central District managed to entice Woodville-West Torrens wingman Kai Pudney to play on the wide expanses of X Convenience Oval.
A member of the Eagles’ 2021 flag-winning outfit, Pudney managed just five League games last year after suffering a serious ankle injury.
This should ensure the 24-year-old – who boasts incredible aerobic capacity – is hungry to make an impact with the Bulldogs.
A proven performer at State League level with the Brisbane Lions, Wilson Barry also represented Queensland in 2023.
Strongly-built, Barry is a nice size at 187cm while boasting impressive skills, decision-making and clearance-winning ability from stoppages.
The 21-year-old has previously played predominantly at either end of the ground but Central coach Paul Thomas is eager to provide him with extended minutes as an inside midfielder this year.
SA U18 coach Tony Bamford profiles the Bulldogs’ players in 2024.
Charlie is a mobile tall forward who earned selection in the SA U18 squad last year as a bottom age player. While he did not play a National game last year, he gained valuable experience training with older players and more mature bodies. We expect that experience to help him take his game to a new level this year. He has been training mainly as a tall marking forward but has also been exposed to the key defender role where he has looked comfortable. Charlie has the ability to read the ball movement pattern early and find space between the arcs to give his midfielders a strong target. We have challenged Charlie to continue to develop his voice and physicality to complement his work rate.
Tallan is coming off an injury-interrupted 2023 that had him miss a significant amount of footy after he broke his leg in Round 1. Before his injury, he had played some impressive footy as a third tall forward. We took a keen interest in his rehab and return to play with an eye on inviting him to the U17 Futures program. This is his first time in the SA talent pathway and his preseason performance suggests he is ready to impact games again while proving to be a difficult match-up for his opponent. We have pushed Tallan to develop new leading patterns and an ability to compete under the ball in slow play situations. He has also worked very hard in the gym to build strength and add some weight.
”Big Jimmy” as we like to call him… is a typical “slow burn” developing tall player. Jimmy played as an “overage” U17 player in our U16 state team last year as lead ruck. He is tall, skinny and mobile and still working hard to increase his body size and strength. He has had to learn a lot about his ruck craft working against heavier and taller opponents and how to use his agility and mobility to his advantage. He has not missed any aspect of our preseason training program so not only will this help him develop his all round game but also give him great self belief and confidence that he can have a big impact in 2024.
Dyson has come off a massive 2023 as our SA U16 Captain and MVP, Central U16 premiership captain and SANFL U16 Best and Fairest medallist, just to name a few of his achievements. Dyson is a highly-talented ball-winning midfielder with unique leadership qualities and maturity beyond his years. He is a strong, well-built U17 with a body (and mind) ready and capable of impacting at levels above his age group. His application, intensity and energy in our program during preseason has been both impressive and infectious. Dyson has been working on complementing his ball-winning ability with a more balanced approach to defensive transition and evading his opponent more at stoppages.
Josh is another high-end U17 talent from Central District. He plays as a rebounding defender who likes to have the ball in his hands to set up his team’s offence from the back half. Like most highly-skilled defenders, he is still working hard to improve his one-on-one contests and defending to complement his attacking play. Josh has done well during preseason to gain a better understanding of what high performance looks and feels like. He has improved his 2km time trial by 14 seconds this preseason while adding some size and shape to his body that will help him when playing against older, more mature, opponents this year.
Aidan is a talented basketballer who is also a keen football player with huge potential. He has managed to combine his State Basketball commitments with our preseason training program over the past four months. Aidan is highly-organised and diligent for his young age (he is the youngest player in our Academy who isn’t turning 17 until December this year). He played as a key forward and second ruck in our SA U16 team last year. At national level, he was able to showcase his aerial ability and score impact. Aidan is still learning about ball-movement patterns, where to lead and when to lead while working hard to improve his field kicking and agility.
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